Five Years Ago

Carol

Carol Hornig: Much loved, deeply missed

 

Five years ago today

You passed on

Into effervescent light,

Boundless love,

And joyful belly laughs.

 

It is no wonder, for

You have lived light, even

Through deep pain.

You have breathed

Unconditional

Love

And nourished all you’d met

Along your path.

You have gifted us all with your

Laughter,

Your glorious heart.

 

You are now

One

With it all,

In the place your soul

Must have always known

As home.

 

 

The One Place

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

She ran and wouldn’t stop till she got there.

It didn’t matter that she had a stitch in her side or that something hard in her backpack kept slamming into her ribs or that the lower branches of some trees slapped burning licks against her cheeks.

She would not stop.

At last she saw a glimmering reflection and the slight opening in the dense woods that signaled she was almost there.

Her attention drawn to the sight ahead, she missed a crawler root and fell hard. She lay there, the breath knocked out of her and pain coursing through her body where it hit the ground. A gnarly stump poked out of the earth not two inches from her eye. It would have done real damage.

She was almost too miserable to care but her eyes still filled with tears. For the pain. For the helplessness. For the exhaustion. For so much more she could not find the words for and couldn’t afford to. Not yet.

She had to get up or she’d never move again. The backpack pressed heavy against her and she couldn’t help but remember other weight pinning her down. Unwelcome. Uninvited. More tears sprung. Then sobs that came from someplace between her diaphragm and belly button and competed with the stitch already jabbing through her chest. It was too much. It had all been. Too much.

Finally, after what seemed a decade, her breath calmed and she found strength to push up to her elbows, then her knees, then up to lean against a tree and shift her weight gingerly onto each leg.

Nothing broken. Or nothing broken that would prevent her from getting there. Her elbow throbbed and she was bleeding from scratches on her face and a badly skinned palm. There would be more abrasions underneath her pants where a tear bloomed red at the knee. But she was up, and some burden had lifted in the crying, even if it left her heart hollow with sorrow and echoing with despair.

She filled her lungs with a long breath and a tardy sob escaped to join the others but then her body shuddered one last time and she steadied.

She walked on. Not running now, just dogged determination.

The forest peeled away to reveal the clearing. The pond glowed and the purple light remained as she’d remembered. Lush greens licked the muddy banks and a clump of cattails whispered in an almost nonexistent breeze. The tree, too, was still there, just as it had been before: it’s bark missing in places, it’s silvery leaves rustling as the very breath of the place coursed through it from root to leafy tip.

“I’ve come back,” she breathed, and touched her scraped palm to the exposed trunk. Skin to blood to skin.

An echo filled her chest and she knew it knew her, and the relief made the jagged hole in the center of her self heal some.

This was the one place she never felt completely alone in.

She’d last left it thinking that her old life would not chase her to the new, and she had tried – for longer than she thought she could endure – to pretend that she no longer longed for what she had believed in and had given up. She could give it up no more.

“Will you help me?” she whispered. “I’d forgotten how.”

And the tree rustled and a ripple ran across the water and into her core, and her body softened so completely that she slid to sit leaning against the trunk. Welcomed. Invited. Warmed.

She’ll sleep. And she will dream. And she will wake to find the way back to herself. To her true realm in her rightful time.

 

 

For Sue’s WritePhoto prompt

 

The Tree

the tree amitaiasif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

“I will wait by the tree,”

She had said.

“At the fork where

The road

Meets the lush, green

Horizon.”

Wait she did,

Day again and again

And a month, and another.

Wait until they had come

Trudging home

From the war,

Wearing smiles, but

Carrying the weight

Of their sorrows

Around them.

 

 

 

For Becca Givens’ Sunday Trees

 

Memory Jar

Photo prompt: © Priya Bajpal

 

“Can I take one now?”

“Breakfast first.”

Deena sighed. She ate her oatmeal and drank her milk, but her eyes kept returning to the seashell table Dad had gotten for Mom. Before. To the jar that usually stood on the mantel. Since.

Finally, Grandma rose and put her mug in the sink.

Now that it was time, Deena hung back. She remembered filling the jar, with Grandma, after the accident, when memories were fresh and both their hearts were broken.

Grandma took her hand. “Come. Reach in. Pick one, and you’ll see – the right moment with them will find you.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

First Anniversary


 

He was coming home for the first time since and I wasn’t sure what to do with the mixture of emotions swirling in me.

Trepidation. Hope. Regret. Grief. … And woven between them the pleading thread that it will magically make it as if nothing had happened. For I wanted — oh, so wanted — to undo what could not be undone …

Nothing subdued the anxiety, so I just stood by the window and waited. For days now anything I touched and every room I’d entered was seen through his soon-to-come eyes: the new cover on the sofa, the oval mirror at the entryway that had replaced the one I’d broken in a fist of pain, the small rocking-chair just where it had always been. This window.

And the steps. The wretched spot where Ella’s head had hit so hard when she fell that the stair’s edge chipped.

“You should’ve watched her,” was all he’d said at the morgue. Or since.

Twelve months ago today.

 

 

(Wordcount: 162)

For the FFfAW writing challenge

 

An Arrow Spent

boats trees SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

She used to splice the water like an arrow, undeterred by swells.

She’d always been better than him, though he never admitted it and she was too proud to brag and sometimes too overconfident.

They pretended playful competitions but those inevitably turned into dogged races that left them near exhaustion. Luke even capsized once, far from shore. He was upset by her gaining on him and so tired that all he managed was to slap the water with his oar and spin his boat into the wide belly of a wave. Nearly spent herself, she barely managed to help him into hers.

She’d give everything to race him again.

She gazed into the bay. She could no longer row. Her boat rested, overturned. Perhaps it kept her brother company. He, too, was beached, six feet below.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Arrow in 135 words

 

 

The Service


PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

 

All was set for the service.

Programs lounged on chairs in the next room. The adequately melancholy music played. Discrete tissue boxes rested at either end of the first row.

She waited as heels clicked on marble and black fabrics swished and the somber faces of acquaintances, rearranged for the occasion, nodded at her. She endured the hugs and shoulder pats and too-long handshakes. She breathed through the words.

The room quieted.

She rose and stared at the ornate urn on the dais before turning to face the living.

“You should know,” she began, “that Dad was not a good man.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Worse Off Than A Monk


Image result for Goizueta, Navarra, Spain

Photo: Mapio.net; Goizueta, Navarre

 

“I am not going!”

They cannot send him to that miserable hut where there’s no electricity, no running water, creepy crawlies, and no internet. Even monks have internet. He was going to be worse off than a monk!

His father sighed. “Aitona Antton needs help and Osaba Alesander is still recovering from his motorcycle accident.”

“So I need to lose a leg to get out of this?” Danel grumbled.

His father’s sharp inhale told him he’d gone too far.

He shrugged apology. He was in enough trouble. Ditching school, hanging out “with the wrong crowd.” It was exile or jail.

“He’s your great-grandfather,” his father sounded tired, and not just from spending nights at Uncle Alesander’s bedside. “You used to love visiting him.”

“Before Birramona died …” Danel stopped. The remote homestead was awfully quiet without his great-grandmother. How much more so for Aitona-handia?

He sighed. “At least I like goat-cheese.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw

(Basque glossaryAitona: Grandfather;  Aitona-handia: Great grandfather;  Birramona: Great grandmother;  Osaba: Uncle)

 

Her Golden Child

three line tales, week 128: a golden person

photo by Sharon McCutcheon via Skillshare

 

He’d always been her golden child, born after years of sorrow.

He’d always been her precious jewel, the promise of tomorrow.

He’s gone to take the saffron robes, been hers only to borrow.

 

For Three Line Tales–week 128

 

Micro Giant

comic-bubble-2750887_1920

Earlier today, as I was attempting to video a particularly adorable little one, my phone froze. It would not budge. It refused even to turn off. Total strike. When it finally relented, responded, and restarted, it claimed that the MicroSD card that had lain securely in its innards, accumulating goodies, was “blank or has unsupported files.” Gulp!

Removing and remounting the tiny tech did nada. Restarting again? Zilch. Thousands of photos, videos, music and docs – more than 27 Gigabytes’ worth – gone! Some are backed up, perhaps, someplace. Many? Who knows.

I breathed. I zoomed through the phases of grief. I put the phone away. I fed the toddler some fruit. We both had a sip (and spill) of water. We chased dogs, a little boy with a ball, an ant, and three pigeons.

Back home, I tried to view Micro (it felt right to name it, after it turned my day on its head) on the computer. No luck. Not only did my laptop refuse to load the card’s info, it would not even acknowledge that Micro existed. To add insult to injury, Micro’s ordeal somehow managed to keep it invisible even as it shut down the whole card-reader drive so it would not read any other memory cards, either. Micro had suffered Total Amnesia With Driver-Scrambling Influences.

Even according to the normally super helpful remote-‘hijackers’ of computers, the poor data that had lived on Micro, is to be presumed evaporated. Oh, my phone returned to work deceptively fine. The contacts are intact. So are any WhatsApp images (normally so infuriatingly immune to living anyplace but the prime real-estate of internal storage, and now more snobbish than ever, being the only ones to have survived). It is the photos I’d taken myself, the videos I’d shot, the files I’d stored, the music I’d downloaded, that have disappeared into the abyss. Whatever caused this massive ‘phone syncope,’ it damaged only the deceptively giant brain of my little Micro, but by all accounts it did so spectacularly!

So here I am, a bit disoriented and feeling a touch of loss and more than a bit bewildered. I can’t help but worry that whatever had caused the irreversible amnesia might pay a return visit, especially as the culprit remains unexplained (and unrecoverable). It doesn’t help that certified geeks spent hours trying to figure out how one scrambled Micro-SD managed to make other cards not be readable just by association, and continued to do so even after repairs, rebuilds, refresh, and the odd time-travel of restore.

Being prone to seeing synchronicity as messaging, I’m wondering if today’s drama is a metaphor for the contagion of energy and chaos. So timely with the current snags and ripples in the fabric of memory and history.

Adieu, photos. Adieu, videos. Adieu, all manner of notes. I remember some of you very fondly. I admit to not quite knowing what many of you were. I will miss you all, anyway.

One day (soon, if Murphy has a say in it, which he tends to in such cases), I might find myself looking for an image or a file that I just know I had ‘someplace’, only to realize that it was probably part of today’s giant exodus.

In the meanwhile, I hope this data-crater becomes an opening to new energies and an invitation for new memories on Micro-The-Second. I choose to view this as (yet another) lesson into the temporary yet indelible existence of every moment, be it captured into tangible memory or not.

For the One Word Sunday Challenge: Giant